I agree with a few points. You are right about T1/T2. Everything in that game did big damage, and juggles didn’t nullify all other forms of punishment. Armor King may go for a WGF juggle combo but regular King could chain grab you to death. Baek applied pressure with his high/low kick strings, Paul hit like a truck, and Lei was a unique character with his own bag of tricks. I doubt if we’d see Lei, Roger/Alex, and Paul doing juggles at high level.
10-hit strings had too much blockstun to jump out of unless you got pushbacked out of range; if that happens the opponent wasn’t close enough. Blocked hits prior to delayed attacks would put you in stagger state anticipating whether the next move hits mid or low. Once you’re able to figure them out though they did become somewhat useless like you said in the other thread.
I also agree that T4 had many problems (King of Jin Fist Tournament) besides nerfed juggles.
All Tekken games (barring T4) had an incentive to peform a juggle; they did decent damage, took away red life in TTT1, and they looked cool. It wasn’t until T5 that juggling became the dominating force behind the series. Before then, you didn’t get full juggle combos off a wakeup LK. You couldn’t jab someone in mid air, and take 50% of their vitality. Throws did not lead to full juggles. The juggle system became very prominent and characters were given additional tools and attack strings to help their juggle game. I believe part of the reason why there’s a lot of fan hate for Paul and Chreddy is cause they play more traditional Tekken in a game where everyone is ultimately looking to juggle the opponent to the wall. Paul still gets that old-school damage off critical hits and Eddy/Christie can play the heavily confusing high/low game.
When you’ve experienced first-hand the change in the Tekken series from its debut (I was 11 when I played T1) all the way until now, It’s hard to look at the series as a whole and say juggling was always a crucial component in the franchise.